Wyoming Track & Field Excited to Host MW Championships
May 12, 2014
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
For just the second time in the conference's 15-year history, the University of Wyoming will host the Mountain West Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The Cowboys and Cowgirls welcome seven men's and 11 women's teams to Memorial 8 Track at Louis S. Madrid Sports Complex this week for the meet. Action on Wednesday and Thursday features the women's heptathlon and men's decathlon beginning at noon MT each day. Friday's events commence at 11 a.m., while Saturday's final events start at noon with an awards ceremony at 4 p.m. Fans can follow live results of all four days through GoWYO.com, including live video of Friday and Saturday's track events.
Wyoming last hosted the conference outdoor championships in 2009, as the Cowboys finished sixth and the Cowgirls were ninth. Both squads have hopes for much higher finishes this season, though. The Cowgirls were second at March's MW Indoor Championships, their highest finish ever, and the Cowboys placed fifth with their most points in four years. The teams have continued that success to the outdoor season, including an impressive showing in their last meet, the Cowpoke Open on May 3 at home. Wyoming tallied 10 all-time top-10 marks at the event, while adding school records from Kereston Thomas in the 100 meters and Audra DeStefano in the steeplechase. DeStefano's time also set a facility record, a feat also accomplished by Mason Finley in the discus. His throw was 13th-best in the world this season.
"I think this will be a special moment for our program," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "Any time you get to host a conference championship and know you won't host it again for some time, that makes it special for the student-athletes. We have high expectations for this meet as well. Our goal is always to do better than we did the year before, but we want to perform well in front of our fans too. This will be a tough meet, though. This is probably going to be the most talent at one time on a single track in the history of the state of Wyoming. We hope that brings out our local track and field fans to cheer on their Cowboys and Cowgirls."
History at the MW Outdoor Championships
Last Time Out: Finley Outshines DeStefano and Thomas at Cowpoke Open
"We tend to do well at this meet and running on your home track is one aspect, but I think these kids are hitting their peak," Wyoming head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "They are a little more rested when they compete at home and they are excited, but we are hopefully as a coaching staff getting them ready to hit a peak."
On his last attempt of the day, Finley uncorked a monster throw of 210-6 to win the men's discus with a new personal best and break his own facility record of 205-0 the senior set at last year's meet. The mark was just four inches shy of the school record in 2000 by Jason Gervais, who went on to compete for Canada in the Olympics that summer. Finley's throw ranked third in the NCAA this season at the time, just 2 feet and 9 inches off the lead, and 13th in the world, including the fourth-furthest throw by an American. It was the third-furthest throw in Mountain West history.
"It was a big breakthrough mentally for him," UW associate head coach Paul Barrett said. "He has hit some of those in training, but he has kind of been forcing it in meets. He got a PR on his fifth throw and then kind of relaxed on that last throw and let it go. He stayed fluid with it and he knew as soon as he let it go."
DeStefano, a redshirt freshman, took down two records with a win in the women's steeplechase. Her time of 10:53.00 broke the facility record by 12 seconds, while her official altitude-converted time of 10:24.04 set a new school record by six seconds. Both records were previously held by Emily Higgins in 2009. DeStefano's official time ranks second in the MW this season and 44th in the NCAA. Thomas, a sophomore, was just as impressive with victories in the 100 and 200 meters. She ran 11.65 in the 100 to improve on her own school record of 11.68 and notched a personal-best 23.85 in the 200 to move to fourth in school history in the event. Both are the fastest in the MW this season.
Wyoming also got event wins from senior Taylor Gardner in the 400-meter hurdles, sophomore McKenzie Brogan in the 400 meters, senior Candace Wollert in the 800 meters and junior Holly Page in the 3,000 meters. Gardner ran a personal-best time of 58.14 to move into first in the MW and 15th in the NCAA in the event.
On the men's side, sophomore Scott Carter took first in the long jump at 23-6 1/4 and the triple jump at 49-2 1/4. Freshman Jordan Charles continued to cement his name in the Cowboy history books, as he finished second in two events. He ran personal bests of 10.75 in the 100 meters for 10th in UW history and 21.24 in the 200 meters for second in UW history. His 200-meter time is third in the MW this season. Junior Paul Thomas posted a personal-best 190-11 in the discus to rank 21st in the NCAA, while sophomore Tyler Anderson threw a personal-best 198-0 in the hammer. Thomas was third in his event and Anderson was second.
Four Straight for Wyoming's Finley
The senior thrower helped Wyoming to a historic home meet at the Cowpoke Open on May 3. On his last attempt of the day, Finley uncorked a monster throw of 210-6 (64.17 meters) to win the discus with a new personal best and break his own facility record of 205-0 that he set at last year's meet. The mark was just 4 inches shy of the school record in 2000 by Jason Gervais, who went on to compete for Canada in the Olympics that summer. At the time, Finley's throw ranked fifth in the NCAA this season and 13th in the world, including the fourth-furthest throw by an American. The mark was also the third-best throw in the history of the conference.
Climbing the Outdoor Rankings
In the most recent USTFCCCA outdoor team polls, the Cowboys are 10th and Cowgirls are 11th in the mountain region. During indoor, the Cowboys finished eighth and the Cowgirls were 12th.
10 More for the Top 10